Power is Back On!

The power is back, and really it wasn't so bad. It only ended up being out for just over 12 hours. No biggie. Our freezers are so stocked that I doubt they even noticed the lack of electricity. But it sure felt great to take a shower! Unfortunately I was already at work for the day, so I didn't get my shower until tonight, but again, no biggie.

The wind has really died down, we are still getting gusts, but all is well. We didn't have any damage here in our neighborhood, but as I was driving around the 'burbs, I couldn't stop myself from slowing down and looking in awe at all the downed trees. BIG trees. The kind that take out power lines and such. I feel really terrible for those whose power will take longer to restore.

Thanks everyone for the well wishes, and I send them all back out to everyone out East, especially Tami and Bonnie. I hope you gals are OK! From the pictures I have seen online and Facebook, it looks like everyone out there got pretty beat up.

That was a crazy night!

Good morning everyone! Just a little update...

Power went out last night at about 11, and has stayed out. I'm pretty sure the transformers are shot as I heard them go POW! And the sky was filled with green light.

So even though we have no power, we are able to access the news and internet on our phones. Hence, the blog post...

Hope everyone is safe and well!


Last Minute Prep

Well, the storm is here, and the power hasn't gone out... Yet...

I realized last minute, as in 1 hour ago, that we have zero lighters or working flashlights in this house. How does that happen you ask? I think that is probably a good question...

So I ran (drove) (slowly) to Target to get a lantern/lighters/matches/etc... Apparently everyone else had that idea too... So I went to the gas station to fill up the car, went inside and found what? Lighters galore! So I bought some as well as a handy dandy crank flashlight that doesn't even need batteries! It is small, but powerful. So, moral of the story? Skip Target and hit your gas station.

Chelsea went out to take a little pee, the kitties are good, and the chickens are all tucked in. I closed their escape hatch, gave them fresh straw, food, and water. They will be good to go. Not like they will be wanting to go outside anyways... All the loose stuff is packed in from outside, so hopefully nothing blows away. We will have to assess the damage on Wednesday...

So, here we are, tucked in, hoping the power doesn't go out. I hope everyone on the East coast is hunkered down safely, or has escaped the flooding. Warm and dry wishes to everyone out there.

With all the serious talk out of the way, I bring you a couple of serious pictures of Lake Erie courtesy of the internet (there is no way I am going out in this stuff!)
On the East Side Shoreway Highway
This is the pier at Edgewater where I was taking pictures yesterday
 OH! And this is a great site... You can watch a live video feed from Dodd Camera on the Eastside... it overlooks the Shoreway Highway just west of where the upper picture was taken...


Batton Down The Hatches! It's Frankenstorm!

In all seriousness, I hope all my blogosphere friends and their families on the East Coast are safe and well.

But this storm name is SILLY! Lets please call her by her name, Sandy. Sandy hasn't even hit the coast yet, and we here in Ohio are already feeling it. This morning was SO dark (in part I think because DST has been extended) but good gawd, it was almost creepy walking the dog this morning! I didn't edit these photos, so yes, this is really how dark it was at 730...
Heading North on our street, Chelsea as my guard dog
Looking North towards Lake Erie, end of the street

Looking West, end of the street

Looking East, end of the street
So after we ate breakfast, I convinced Husband to take me over to Edgewater Park so we could see the Lake in its fury. Instead of walking, we drove... Super lame since the lake is our back yard, but it was WINDY. We walked out onto the pier and Holy cow! It was crazy! I tried to upload some video, but Blogger just wasn't going to have it... Sorry, but you will miss out on the floating birds and our silly commentary....

These are the bases of the old pier... If you watch the video, you will see that the waves almost crest the tops

See that flat area of stone in the middle? There are a few of these around the pier, people usually are hanging out and fishing from them... The lake is usually about 8 ft below that

These rocks vary in height... About 2-4 ft each

This one is for Carolyn Renee... I knew she would worry about the kitties, but dont! Punkin thinks this is great sleeping weather... And as for the chickens, they have some new fresh straw, food, and water... They safely tuck themselves into a corner and snuggle. I would take a picture of it, but every time I open the door, they come running to me...


You Never Know When a Chicken Will Save You...

Or your cell phone! So today I must have dropped my cell phone out of my pocket because I was looking for it all day! And I mean hours... Like 5 or 6!

So just know, four little kids from down the street brought me my phone telling me they found it in the street. How did they know it was my phone? Because the little boy said he was looking through my pictures and saw the chickens and knew where they lived, so it must be my phone!

Although, never overestimate the kindness of children... Angel was going to keep the phone, but his big sister made him bring it back!


Seeing Orange

So, I finally got around to putting up all my pumpkins! I started with 3 sugar pies and attempted to can them... All was going well until I pulled the jars out of the pressure canner. I filled the jars with the punkin chunks and topped with fresh boiling water, just as Ball prescribes. Then I cooked them at 10 pounds for 90 minutes. Then I pulled them out, and there was no water! Well, the jars were only half full of water.... What the heck???? Do I need to screw the bands on tighter? I just don't get it... I mean, they sealed up fine, but are they going to be OK without being completely submerged? If the answer is no on that one, I am still OK with that as I have about 25 more pie punkins to take care of...
This jar had mushy punkin chunks...

This jar's chunks were in tact, but still... Where did all that water go???

So as my pie punkins were processing, I cut up one of my GORGEOUS Musquee De Provence pumpkins. Yes, this pumpkin is so beautiful it deserves to be called an actual pumpkin. I didn't take a picture of this one before I cut it up, but here is one from the internets...
NOT my picture... But I have about 6 more of the babies out in the driveway
really, this picture (from my phone) does NOT do the color of Musquee de Provence any justice

The biggest Pyrex bowl I own is overflowing with chunks... A LOT of flesh and only a little skin. I LOVE this pumpkin!

This is probably the least messy my kitchen has EVER been during canning...

Anyways, I don't even know how much this thing weighed, but it was a LOT. I got 2 full gallon bags of pumpkin cubes (which I plan on roasting and making into soup.) This pumpkin flesh is so beautiful... It is a bright pinkish orange color, and has the texture of a butternut squash. I cannot even WAIT to cook this baby up. I would have done it last night, but I didn't have any olive oil... I will take care of it tomorrow...

Speaking of soup, my next question... I know I am NOT supposed to can pureed squash because of the density, but what about soup? I mean, it is much more liquid than straight up squash puree... Any thoughts???


Slow October

The garden is pretty much done putting out, and we aren't up to much... Just working, schooling, eating, and dog sitting... I even started my seed shopping for next year early. WAY early...

We did strike up a conversation about putting cabbages down at the farm, and my only reservation about that are cabbage moths/worms... Has anyone out there used those fabric row covers? I have never used them, and honestly, I don't even know where to buy them. Here at home, I can just sprinkle the plants with DE and call it a day, but down at the farm (1.5 hour drive) I am pretty much powerless against the forces of nature...


Larder Assessment

So let me just say first, the Harvest Party was a total success. Even though I made WAY too much food (I always have and always will) everyone had a great time, and the weather couldn't have been better!

So after that was all over, I got to work organizing and assessing my larder in preparation for my beef. I used the downloadables created by Erica over at NW Edible Life, and got myself set up. I cleaned up the freezer downstairs, and I believe I have space for 3 cases of beef... What I will do with the other 2 (last year we got 5 cases, so that is my basic plan) I have no idea... I mean, last year we had to have a party just so we could close the freezer... I need to work on us eating out of the freezer over the next 2 weeks so that I can move stuff around again and have room... Oy vay....

But getting organized really felt awesome. I took stock of all the canned goods, all the extraneous stuff (coffee, cereal, pasta, oils, etc) in my back pantry/kitty room as well as the freezer downstairs (all meat, a few veg - corn, beans, pureed pumpkin) AND the freezer upstairs (all veg, fruit, crockpot dinners for easy access).
Upstairs Freezer


Downstairs Freezer... It is so hard to get a good shot of chest freezers... But you get the idea...


No Spend October Day 9

Ok, this is shot to hell. With the Harvest Party looming this weekend, I know I am going to spend a lot on meat and other food. I know I am going to spend money on firewood for the fire pit. I know I am going to spend money on beer. Even with people bringing dishes, I know money will be spent, and it will be over my desired budget.

Also, with the beef being at the butcher, I am going to have to spend money on the processing, and this is not a choice of when it happens. When the beef goes, it goes. Last year we spent $165 for our beef processing, and I am sure their prices have gone up. I will find out soon enough. I think I would have been close to my budget before the beef, but nowhere near it after paying the processor.

Oh well... Maybe next month...


Beef 2012 Part 1

I got the message that our beef for this year is at the butchers! Woot!!!!!

Empty Garden, Happy Chickens

We have pulled nearly everything out of the garden except the cabbages, kales, and peppers. Can you believe we still have peppers growing? They will be coming out after this weekend's Harvest Party (more on that later.)

SO what does an empty garden mean? Happy chickens! The girls are no longer restricted to paths through the beds, and are now allowed to dig in the dirt to their hearts content. At least until the end of this month when I put the garlic in... But that is only one bed...

Whatchyou lookin at?!

I couldn't let you leave without seeing a very happy dog either...


Junk Drawer

With the garden being almost completely gone for the year, I need to find other stuff to post about...

I was inspired this morning by Dorothy over at Life With Boys and her 31 Days to a Minimalist Lifestyle. Today, she posted about her junk drawers. Yes, everyone has one. Or 2. Or 3. Dorothy was awesome enough to gain a WHOLE DRAWER! And who doesn't need more drawers?! Or maybe we wouldn't need more drawers if we kept track of our junk! Anyways, we only have 1, and it is small, but WAY overcrowded. It has even been known to be stuck shut on several occasions and remained that way for several month, weeks, days... Yeah... And guess what?! This didn't cost me a thing!!! Yay for No Spend October!

During... I also found several very old packs of gum, a post it with the phone number of the previous owner of our house from when we first moved in (3 years ago), and one euro.... Not to mention the stack of odd papers and business cards, random nails and staples and screws that when straight into the trash...
After... Where did the tools go? The nuts and bolts? The staple gun and various glues and lubricants? Right into the tool box where they belong!
**Post Update** After cleaning my junk drawer, I went for my 2 utensil drawers. Since I can barely stand to part with my kitchen tools, it was tough. But I did get rid of THREE wine openers (we like the standard corkscrew/beer opener), TWO knife sharpeners (I had 3, but only need one... DUH ME), like, 10 or 15 old jar lids, my gross and sticky silpat liner (I prefer parchment paper), and several decorative wine corks for keeping leftover wine that were tarnished and ugly (Who the hell has leftover wine???)


No Spend Month October

Ok, I have never done this before, but all the bloggers out there (at least it seems like all) are doing a no spend month inspired by Erica over at Northwest Edible Life, and as I am never one who liked being left out of anything, I am also participating. You can read all about the rules over there, so I am going to just put down my budget, included items, and exempt items. I really got a smack in the face when Husband told me that the only thing he puts on our credit card (used for EVERYTHING we purchase, and is paid off every month so don't worry about the credit card trap) is his gas. That means that everything else spent on there is by ME. Holy friggin crap. I need to cut back. ASAP. So here goes!!!

Budget: $400

Exempt Items:
Regular household bills - Mortgage, utilities, insurance (home and car), car payments
Gas - Husband cannot help what he spends on gas. It's just not that kind of job. To counter that, I am fortunate enough to have a boss that pays for a fair share of gas in exchange for child transport.
Dog Stuff - We are dog sitting, and the money spent is minimal. Plus, I am happy to do it.
Medical Expenses such as prescriptions, appointments, etc. 
I am also going to exempt cat food and litter. They eat what they eat, and poop where they poop... That is that.

Included Items:
Everything else - stuff from Target, groceries (including supplies for our harvest party), dining out, books, online purchases, fun activities, nights out on the town, football game food, beer, and all other miscellaneous purchases.

So, all of this means that I need to be infinitely more conscious of what we are eating, at home and out. I need to make sure that we have dinners at home, rather than going out. Currently, Husband and I only spend about 4 nights per week together, and I probably only make dinner twice, which means that we are eating whatever we can find, either in the house or out. That is a big part of our budget no-no's.  I also need to make sure that we have stuff for lunches available such as meats and cheese for sandwiches, and fruit on hand for ease of use.

Maybe you think my budget is a lot, but I can assure you, it is a significantly small amount in comparison to what we I mindlessly spend every month. I am really REALLY going to try and be conscious about what I spend, and I plan on writing everything down. And who knows, maybe this month will go so well, I can keep my spending under 400, or 300, or day I even say 200?!

**Post update** After looking at what I spent already, and it is only October 2, there is no way I will stay below $200 for the month. But I really really did have to treat my best friend to brunch for her birthday. Sorry, but it had to be done.